Saturday, December 02, 2006

Well-Loved by New Yorkers

It has been way too long and now that I’m finding more time to scribble down my thoughts, I’m trying to relive some of my New York eating moments. When in New York, do what the New Yorkers do--eat at their most popular places! Two of them were part of Danny Meyer’s food empire in the city: Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern and the other two were no frills good old street food hot dogs and the American pizza.

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Gramercy Tavern, has two dining options, the main dining hall, where reservations are required and the Tavern Bar area, where it is slightly less formal they take no reservations and where bar counter is a great option for solo diners. I liked the buzz in the air as we entered the room, there was almost a scent of happiness in the room, maybe just being in a warm room rather than in the cold streets and the comfort of good food and company. We dined in the Tavern Bar area, where the service was friendly and really helpful. All the dishes that we tried: grilled octopus salad, chicken liver crostini, stuffed quail, leg of lamb sandwich, stuffed quail, mahi-mahi (a today's special) were good, but what was really exceptionally excellent was the fresh bacon, grilled for its natural sugars to caramelise and for the fat to burn to its sweet state, it was delicious and a tasty reason for anyone to go there.

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The Union Square Café, where Danny Meyer first begin his restaurant empire, is still doing what the same things that have brought them success, good American food with an Italian twist and warm hospitality that gives this restaurant a soul, and I can understand why people like it. The service is wonderful, very discrete and sensitive to your needs and the food was good. We were seated at right at the tip of the second level, which allowed us to peek over the people at the bar. My most memorable plate was their homemade spaghetti with lobster, basil and orange oil; the orange oil helped to push the pull together the flavours and to push it to another level, so simply but very good and I’ve tried to recreate this plate at home on numerous occasion. Other dishes that we tried were: yellowtail tuna tartare with horseradish mustard and avocado, fettucine with duck and wild mushroom ragu and parmesan, foie gras with dry red cherry duck jus on a roasted panotta, glazed Belgian endives and prunes, braised shortribs with horseradish mash potatoes and warm apple crumble cake with caramel ice cream.

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Economic eating in NYC does not come any better than their institutional hotdog stands. At Gray’s Papayas, where they had recession offer of 2 hot dogs and a papaya drink would only set you back less than $3. Just squirt on some ketchup and mustard and finish with a long cold sip of the vitamin packed digestive papaya drink and your stomach will be happy. We made a pit stop at Papaya King, which offers pretty much the same thing, but between the two, I think my vote is with Gray’s Papayas.

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Last but not least, another common NYC food that we tried was the New York-styled pizza slice that is something between a thin and a thick crust, where it is thickish and slightly fluffier on the outer crust, which is still crisp rather than soft and thin and crisp like a thin biscuit in the centre. To sample this, we headed over the Brooklyn bridge to look for Grimaldi’s, where one antipasto platter and a large pizza topped with stuffed us the greedy family of four. We wandered around the neighbourhood for a while trying to find this pizza place, and the irony of it is that we spotted a couple with a guidebook whom we guessed were looking around for Grimaldi’s as well, then tailed them and found our way there.

Gramercy Tavern
42 East 20th St, between Broadway and Park Ave
Tel: +1 (212) 477-0777
www.gramercytavern.com

Union Square Café
21 East 16th St, between 5th Ave and Union Square West,
Tel: +1 (212) 243-4020
www.unionsquarecafe.com

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
19 Old Fulton St, under the Brooklyn Bridge
Tel: +1 (718) 858-4300
www.grimaldis.com

Gray’s Papayas
2090 Broadway Ste 1 New York

Papaya King
179 East 86th StreetCorner of Third Avenue, between 3rd and Lexington
or
Southwest Corner of 7th Avenue and 14th Street
www.papayaking.com

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1 Comments:

Blogger Woof! said...

Grimaldi's and the ice cream place a little down the road, next to the river, are simply fabbo!

1:38 PM  

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